Our Top Pick for 2019: Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepad
Volleyball is an exciting fast-paced sport that requires specialized equipment to ensure the safety of the players. Diving and sliding across the floor are the hallmarks of a player that is willing to do what it takes to keep the ball in play. Knees, however, can take a beating during practices and games. Bruising and swelling from diving on the floor can be brutal for players, especially if they are playing every day. Kneepads provide much needed protection to save knees from becoming injured. There are many different types of kneepads so it is best to know what position you will be playing before purchasing. If you’re not sure, there are kneepads that are good for overall protection and comfort. Look at the padding, fit, and design of the pads to be sure you are getting adequate coverage.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
#1. Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepad
The Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Kneepad (LR6) provides the protection needed to prevent injury, while offering low profile and freedom of movement. The design of these pads takes into account the needs and wants of the volleyball players.
The primary function of a kneepad is to protect all parts of the knee from injury caused by sliding, diving, or falling to the floor. The LR6 has DS-1 padding in the high impact areas of the knee, namely over the patella, at the lateral points of the knee, and medial or middle part of the knee. These three areas take the most beating during a game. The lateral area, in particular, is often left vulnerable even with kneepads. Volleyball players frequently use lateral movements to keep the ball from hitting the floor. These movements bring the sides of either knee against the floor often causing bruising. Padding in the lateral area assures that this vulnerable area is not left exposed.
The sleeve length of the LR6 is shortened to 6in. so that players do not need to fold over any excess sleeve. Excess sleeve can cause a number of problems for players such as bunching or pinching. Bunching is when the excess sleeve begins to slide down the leg and bunch on top of the knee pad. Bunching can not only make the pads slide down the knee, preventing proper protection, but can also distract players from the game when they have to readjust their kneepads.
To address this problem, many players fold the excess sleeve over the pad. While this solves the bunching and sliding down the knee, it can alter the fit of the kneepad. Without the excess sleeve to hold the pad in place it can not only slide down the knee, but also twist around leaving the front of the knee exposed to injury. Pads with a long sleeve length may also be problematic for small players. Some sleeve lengths are so long that they extend from the knee, to bottom of the player’s uniform shorts. This can be uncomfortable to adjust the knee pads and does not give the sleek, athletic look that many players want.
The LR6 has what Mizuno calls Dynamotion Fit that allows for a greater freedom of movement. Dynamotion Fit is the cut and separation of the pads into distinct sections. Kneepads can at times cause restriction of movement which can prove particularly problematic for players that play certain positions. Setters and hitters in particular are going to appreciate the Dynamotion Fit because it won’t slow down their movements or reaction times. These two positions require speed and quick reflexes.
Many users report that they like the feel of the LR6 because it doesn’t rub or pinch at the back of the knee. Keeping kneepads in place requires a snug fit but some pads can become so uncomfortably tight that the pads start to cut into the back of the knee. The LR6 has which is made of 50% polyester with 22% rayon and 28% elastic, gives a snug fit without pulling to tightly or cutting off circulation. It comes in black and white, and at the time of writing, three other bright colors that match popular outfits produced by Mizuno.
Be sure to measure for correct sizing before ordering as the LR6 comes in 3 sizes. Measurements should be taken just above the knee where the top of the kneepad should rest. Size small is meant for 13in. circumference or smaller, medium is 13in. – 15.5in, and the large is for 15.5in. or more. The versatile sizing allows you to purchase this pad for a young player all the way up to an adult.
Overall the LR6 protects the knee from damage, while optimizing comfort and maneuverability.
#2. Under Armour Volleyball Knee Pad
The Under Armour Volleyball Kneepad (UA) has some unique features to provide a comfortable way to protect knees while on the court. Coming in either black or white, the UA provides features that make them comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time if you aren’t going to use them for heavy diving and digging of the ball.
When kneepads absorb sweat and then rub against the knees during play, they can leave a painful rash. The UA pad addresses this problem with the materials used and their form fitting design. They are constructed with a moisture wicking material that doesn’t let the sweat stay against the skin. This is especially helpful during prolonged play such as long practices or all day tournaments.
Lightweight terry cloth makes up the body of this kneepad. The terry cloth supports the EVA foam construction of the actual pad inside the fabric. EVA foam molds to the knee for greater coverage. As players dive to the floor the EVA fits to the player’s unique knee shape providing superior coverage. The pads are right and left knee specific, giving them a unique anatomically correct design. This furthers their ability to mold to each knee giving the best coverage possible. Fit is snug without cutting off circulation.
The UA is a minimal kneepad that works best for front row players that won’t be diving repeatedly to the floor during each volley. These front positions are required to jump quickly and a thick pad can obstruct their ability to move for the best approach. The minimal design of the UA may also work well for a setter because setters need to be able to move with unobstructed speed. Bulky pads can obstruct the range of motion needed in these positions. This low profile kneepad will work well with the positions that require mostly jumping and movement.
The UA sleeve is small, not as minimal as the previously reviewed kneepad, but small enough to give it a low profile for those looking for a sleek athletic look. The small sleeve also works well to prevent slipping off the knee.
However, for a libero or back row player these pads may not provide the necessary padding to protect the knees. Users reported that for these positions that use their kneepads heavily, the UA padding wasn’t thick enough and the material over the front of the knee tore after only a few games. Back row positions and libero are diving on the court with almost every play. A minimal, fitted design isn’t going to be as valuable to these positions so much as heavy padding.
The Under Armour pad comes in two sizes small/medium and medium/large.
#3. Nike Streak Volleyball Kneepad
The Nike Streak Volleyball Kneepad provides good coverage of the knee and a low profile fit. Players looking for a kneepad that incorporates the best technology has to offer will be happy with this kneepad. It is constructed of polyester 46%, nylon 25%, EVA 17%, and 12% rubber, giving a good snug fit with lots of stretch.
Excessive rubbing on a sweaty knee because of a knee pad can result in a painful rash that can be difficult to get rid, especially if you have to play every day. Constructed with Dri-fit fabric, the Nike wicks moisture away from the skin to prevent this rash. A soft, brushed fabric lines the inside of the kneepad for extra comfort. Volleyball players may have to wear their knees pads for several hours of practice or even longer for all day tournaments. When wearing equipment for so many hours, comfort becomes a feature worth considering. The fabric used in the Nike allows players to play without distraction from uncomfortable kneepads.
The pad itself is made of shock absorbing EVA foam to protect the vulnerable areas of the knee found over and under the patella, on the sides of the knee, and medial area. The design also helps the kneepads to stay in place during play. While running, sliding, then standing again, only to dive again many kneepads can slide to the side or off the knee entirely. The contoured pads follow the movements of the knee, allowing for better range of motion and keeping distracting kneepad adjustments to a minimum.
The cut and design of the pad also gives this kneepad a fitted look. Many players dislike the old style bubble kneepads that can be bulky and awkward to run and jump in. With the fitted, low profile design these kneepads are going to give players the athletic look they want.
The sleeve of this kneepad is snug without cutting off circulation, to ensure proper fit measure carefully before purchasing. The back of the knee can be a trouble spot for sweat and, consequently, skin irritation. The Nike uses ventilation zones at the back of the sleeve to allow sweat to evaporate instead of irritating the skin.
Despite the use of the ventilation zones and high-tech materials, the Nike does have some problems. Users report that the material over the pads tears quickly and easily. The fabric at the back of the knee did bunch with some users, causing them some irritation. These pads, like others, worked well for players like setters and front row hitters that need range of motion more than they need superior padding. Liberoes and back row players may need a pad that provides fuller padding.
The Nike comes in black or white to blend with any uniform. It also comes in three sizes XS/S, M/L, and XL/XXL to fit a variety of sizes.
#4. ASICS Unisex Slider V. Kneepad
The ASICS Unisex Slider Volleyball Kneepad (Slider) provides good protection of the knee at an economical price. Despite the low price these kneepads offer the features that are most important in a kneepad.
The padding is almost 1in. thick, the thickest of our top choice kneepads. Padding this thick will work for a player in any position, even those on the back row or a libero. Keeping the knees protected in these positions is critical. Bruised and swollen knees can make a player hesitate to go the floor after the ball. The thick padding will provide the protection that a player needs through long practices and all day tournaments. However, because of the thick padding, this is not a low profile kneepad. It does stick out more than the other kneepads in this review, but not as much as the bubble kneepad designs.
Contoured pads cut in the correct areas, help the Slider stay in place and protect the knees even during lateral dives. Contours compensate for the round and unpredictable shape of the knee. The cuts also allow the kneepad to move with the natural movements of the knee, making the kneepad feel natural. As players jump, bend, dive, and run the contours will help keep the kneepad from restricting any necessary movement.
With the 9 1/2in. sleeve, they will stay in place. A long sleeve can help keep kneepads in place as long as they fit correctly. However, bunching may be a problem especially for young or short players. The long length may bring the top of the kneepad to the bottom or even underneath uniform shorts. Adjusting kneepads during play can be difficult if the pad is interfering with a uniform. Many players fold the excess sleeve over the top of the kneepad if it causes problems or doesn’t give the desired streamlined look.
There is no wicking fabric used in these kneepads. Users did report that their knees built up a lot of heat and sweat. Keep this in mind if you want to use these kneepads for long periods of time. The heat, however, did help to keep the knee warm and flexible for play.
They are made of 45% polyester, 39% rubber, and 16% nylon. One size is available in white. If your knee, measured around the middle, is between 12in – 18in, these kneepads should fit you.
The main purpose of the a kneepad is to provide protection for the knee. Be sure to purchase a kneepad with adequate padding that covers the patella, lateral, and medial areas of the knee. The required thickness of the padding will vary greatly depending on the position played.
Setters and hitters that are mainly on the front row may not require heavy padding. Players in these positions may prefer a low profile kneepad. Low profile kneepads, in general, do not restrict movement as much as kneepads with thicker padding. On the other hand, liberoes and back row players may need thicker padding. Repeatedly diving can be hard on the knees without the proper padding as knees can become sore, swollen, and bruised. Players may begin to hesitate to go after a ball if their knees hurt. Back row players will probably become used to the thicker padding over time and movement restriction will become less of an issue.
Proper fit can mean the difference between pain-free play and limping off the court. Every knee is different. Someone that has thin legs with a bigger knee will fit better into a different pair of kneepads than someone with thicker legs and a smaller knee. If possible, try on kneepads before buying.
Sleeve length will make a difference in fit and comfort. When diving, the forward motion of the body will keep the body moving forward while the kneepad stays in place, meaning the kneepad will slide down the leg. Long kneepad sleeves have a larger surface area to grip the leg, holding the kneepad in place. If playing in a long volley, when diving to the floor may be necessary many times, tugging kneepads into place can get in the way of successful play.
However, designs with short sleeves can still do an adequate job of staying place and many players prefer the low profile kneepads as they work better with an overall uniform look. As there have been improvements in the design and materials used in the low profile kneepads, many low profile kneepads have come to perform just as well as their long sleeve counterparts.
Check the material on the inside of the kneepad. Kneepads cause sweating around the knee. As players run, jump, and dive the inside of the kneepads rub against the skin over the patella and at the back of the knee. The rubbing and sweat can cause a painful rash that can be difficult to get rid of.
Look for materials that are soft and non-abrasive. Some kneepads may even have special moisture wicking material that can help keep sweat away from the skin. Others may have open ventilation at the back of the knee to allow for the evaporation of moisture.
Beware of kneepads that have a rough surface material on the inside as these can cause excessive rubbing. No matter what kind you choose, be sure to let your kneepads air out after each use and wash them periodically according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Proper care and cleaning can also help to prevent a rash from forming.
Design and Cut
The design and cut of the kneepad can make huge difference in its ability to stay in place over all the vulnerable areas of the knee. Traditionally, kneepads used to be one large bubble pad over the front of the knee, but this left the sides of the knee open to bruising during lateral dives. Today, kneepads are cut forming several pieces that contour to the shape of the knee. However, some have better lateral coverage than others. Players who play libero or back row positions should look for a kneepad with the best lateral coverage available.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Quality kneepads can be found in every price range. Keep in mind what position you will be playing before purchasing, as different volleyball positions have different pad requirements. Once you’ve determined this, it becomes a matter of player preference.
Try on the kneepads before purchasing if you possibly can. They should feel snug without pinching the skin behind the knee and the inside material should be non-abrasive. With the right kneepads you’ll be ready to play your best.